Lions must win to keep playoff hopes alive
While there are a couple of big games taking place at venues in the North Bayside this week, I’ll probably be in Salisbur y.
The week starts a day early thanks to the state teachers’ convention (no one in a position of authority seems to know how to schedule this when school isn’t in session, but hey, it’s not like there are three consecutive months a year when the kids are home...), so Thursday shows us the first of a big pair of games.
Queen Anne’s County High, now 5-2 after a threetouchdown win over James M. Bennett, visits Wicomico High, a team which might have gotten its first quality victor y in a couple of years, by beating CambridgeSouth Dorchester last week.
Wi-Hi, at 4-3, has already surpassed last year’s win total, and is looking to make another statement on its home field Thursday at 6:30 p.m. While Wi-Hi still has a mathematical chance at making the playoffs, it absolutely won’t happen if the team loses this one. The same might be argued for the Lions. While they’re a game ahead of Wi-Hi, the field above the two teams is stacked with squads boasting better records, but more importantly, a significant lead in playoff points. When you beat a team, you get from 5-8 points based on the size of the school, and one bonus point per win that team accumulates all year. So if you beat a Class 1A with no wins, you get 5 points. A Class 4A with 8 wins is worth 16; this strength-of-schedule aspect is also the first tier of the tiebreaking process if two teams become tied in overall points.
So, losing means you only get the bonus points from teams you’ve already beaten, and if they’re not winning, you’re stuck while everyone else might pass you by.
Thus, the Lions, about 10 points off the pace for the fourth and final playoff spot in the Class 2A East region, cannot afford to drop Friday’s game.
Wi-Hi, twice as far behind, must win out and get significant help, in two forms: wins by teams it’s already vanquished, and losses by the ones above it in the standings.
The very next night, a top seed in the developing 2A East playoff picture is at risk; unbeaten North Caroline looks to win its 26th regular-season game in 28 tries since the start of the 2015 campaign, against Bennett, still smarting from a three-touchdown loss in Centreville last week.
Can anyone stop the Bulldogs? Having outscored opponents 341-28 (that comes to almost 49-4 every Friday night), North Caroline is on